Going to Memphis and not going to Graceland is a bit like going to Paris and avoiding the Eiffel Tower. With over 600,000 visitors every year, it is one of the most visited private homes in the US. Of course, the reason why it's so popular is that it is the former home of none other than Elvis Presley. The King bought the Graceland mansion and its estate in 1957 for $100,000 when he was only 22 years old. The 23-room Colonial Revival mansion had been built in 1939 by one Dr. Thomas Moore. The mansion was redecorated by Presley in the mid-1960s and it resulted, among other things, in the infamous "Jungle Room". The whole thing is a bit (well, a lot actually!) tacky, but then again, it might have been quite the thing in the 60s!
Graceland is located about 15 km southeast of Downtown Memphis. Given the huge number of visitors it attracts on a daily basis, the whole thing is fairly well organized. All tours begin and end at the Graceland Plaza, located across the boulevard from the mansion. A shuttle takes visitors up to the mansion - it's only a short ride, but I think the whole point is to avoid having hundreds of visitors cross the street at all times, and it also makes it possible to limit the number of people inside the mansion. A tour of the mansion includes an audiovisual tour, but I thought carrying the tablet around my neck was rather annoying. Visitors have access to all rooms on the first floor and basement. The second floor is off limits; Elvis died in the second floor bathroom on August 16, 1977. He was initially buried Forest Hill Cemetery, but following an attempt to steal his body, his father Vernon had the remains of Elvis and his mother Gladys moved to Graceland. They were reburied in the Meditation Garden in October 1977.
Elvis's former wife Priscilla opened the house to the public in 1982. The raquetball court was then transformed into a trophy room, filled with the incredible number of awards, gold and platinum records that were awarded to the King over the years. Other personal items such as Elvis and Priscilla's wedding clothes and their daughter Lisa Marie's baby clothes are also on display. For an additionnal fee, visitors can see some of Elvis's cars, his two private jet planes, and tour some museums that house small exhibitions. To be honest, I was satisfied with having seen the mansion, but bigger fans than me could easily spend the entire day at Graceland.
GRACELAND MANSION . On Elvis Presley Blvd. Built 1939. The home of Elvis Presley. The original builder of the house was Stephen Toof , who named the property for his daughter, Grace. Presley purchased the home in 1957 and made many changes during the next 20 years he lived there. Today, more than 600,000 visitors make the pilgrimage to Graceland each year - making it the 2nd most visited home in the U.S - right after the White House.
My boyfriend is a huge Elvis fan, so we made a long drive to Memphis just for Graceland. I like Elvis (as much as the next American), but never actually imagined myself going to Graceland. I was actually impressed. It was cool being in the home of a icon, seeing where and how he lived. I was surprised how small the house is for his being so world famous. We went on the platinum tour for $37 so we could also see that airplanes and cars. We probably won't go again, but I'm glad we went once. The surrounding area is full of displays and souvenirs, exactly what I'd expect.
graceland was the home of rock and roll star elvis presley. today graceland is a museum on the life and career of "the king of rock and roll". there are three tour options, the vip tour at $ 70 per adult, the platinum at $ 38 per adult, and the mansion tour at $ 32 per adult. personally as much as i enjoyed presley's music in the 1950's and 1960's i decided to pass on the tours. after the white house graceland is most visited home in america.
Graceland, Elvis' famous estate, is located on Elvis Presley Blvd. about 15 minutes south of downtown Memphis. The area is poor and very run down and the whole place looks tacky. Elvis Presley Blvd. is lined with strip malls, small shops and industrial sites nearly to the doorstep of Graceland. Across the road from the house, is a poor looking display of various Elvis planes, cars and motorcycles, togther with a huge number of souvenirs most of which are embarassingly substandard. The Elvis 'mansion' is amazingly small and again you can see the lack of taste Elvis had for decor. The tour is an interesting insight into a truck driver who made good. A few miles away, in east downtown is Sun Records where Elvis cut his first hit record 'Thats All Right'. Again the area is run down and Sun Studios is a small and very unimpressive building but for a fee you can visit the place where many artists launched their careers
Although I suppose there must be other things to see, I can't imagine why you'd go to Memphis and not visit Graceland! Well, obviously this was the main reason that I went there.
Seeing it in person is interesting because it's really a lot smaller than I had imagined. Plus, it's surrounded by a lot of commerce which I'm assuming was built up around it. Yes, it's touristy and yes it's tacky but hey it was Elvis's home.
"...And it was in this room, Elvis entertained friends around the piano in the morning before he tragically passed away later that very day at the age of 42." The headphones used for the self-guided tour of Graceland are telling the story of the workout building behind the mansion. I look at the piano and brown leather furniture, imagining people singing and having fun, and I suddenly feel an unexpected pang of grief; I know this narrative is coming to and end just as the tour is. I walk down a few stairs into a large room which used to be a squash court. Many of Elvis's rhinestone-studded white jumpsuits are stored here in glass cases; the far wall is hung from floor to ceiling with gold and platinum records. The headphone narrative continues, but this time it's Lisa Marie, Elvis's daughter, speaking, "I remember as a little girl watching my father on stage and he would take my breath away every single performance--I thought he was the most wonderful man in the world! When I was told of his death, all I could think was 'What is the world going to do without Elvis Presley? ...Without my dad?!'" This proves too much for me and I rip the headphones off as tears well in my eyes. A woman recalling her feelings as a little 9-year girl when she lost her father is apparently my emotional breaking point and I have to leave this room now and go outside for some air.
And it's a beautiful, sunny day here in Graceland! I step out of the squash court into the bright daylight of the "Meditation Garden"--an area of greenery, rosebushes in full bloom, a few park benches, and a circular fountain which is surrounded by the graves of the Presley family. Elvis is buried here as are his parents and grandmother. There's also a memorial stone for his twin brother, Jesse, who died during childbirth. People are filing slowly around the fountain, pretending to be patient while waiting for their chance to get some closeup photos of the King's final resting place. "The King..." "The Memphis Flash..." "Elvis Aaron Presley..." Whatever you call him, he was really a helluva guy.
I remember exactly where I was when I learned of the death of Elvis. I was 6-years old on a train coming home from Kirkland Lake with my grandma. As news spread throughout the carriages, women broke down in tears. Men tried to tune into stations on pocket transistor radios for details but received mostly static in the desolate area of wilderness. I watched tears stream down my grandmother's cheeks as she sobbed quietly. Everyone on the train was sad. I knew vaguely who Elvis was, knew he was important, but played with a set of plastic toy spacemen so I wouldn't have to consider the sorrow around me.
You're not allowed to take video of anything on Graceland property but I decided in advance that I was going to break that rule because it's just plain stupid. But I also decided that I wouldn't sneak any video inside the house itself out of respect for the man who lived there. ...Even though I get the feeling he probably wouldn't have cared very much.
Touring the mansion, we visited the living room, dining room, guest bedrooms, the kitchen, the downstairs rec-room, the games room, and the "jungle room". The bright yellow rec-room with three TVs embedded in the wall was my favourite--it looks surprisingly modern, in a gaudy sort of way.
Back in the "Meditation Garden," I overhear a group of older women all agree in disappointed tones that they "always imagined Graceland would be much bigger". The tall white pillars at the front of the building do make it look deceptively large but the truth is I find it reassuring, considering his wealth, that Elvis kept his home life relatively humble. His outdoor swimming pool is about half the size of the ones most regular folk own today.
I really like this entire estate; it's tranquil, comfortable, and I don't want to leave but a tour of Sun Studios awaits and it's already getting late in the afternoon.
As I wait for the shuttle to take me back out through the gates, one thought keeps running through my mind: "Wow, I can't believe I was actually in The King's house!" Grandma would have really liked that, I think. I wish she could have been here. ...But somehow I feel she might have been with me.
Every tourist should visit Graceland, home of Elvis Presley. The home itself isn't as grand as one might think. But when you are standing among all his Gold records and numerous costumes,you cannot help but feel sad,perhaps even a little shed a tear or two. For someone to have it all at his fingertips and then he is gone.
I visited Graceland in the early morning, but even at that times there were bus loads of tourists.
Actually I did not take a guided tour neither did I enter the house of Elvis. At that point of our journey it was to expansive for our empty wallets after a money-spending Florida vacation. So me and some friends just took a look over the wall and saw the residence of the King of Rock'n'Roll from a distance. The wall surrounding the house is covered with notes written by Elvis fans from all over the world. It is almost a must to leave a note for the dead (?) legend.
When you are in Memphis you must go to Graceland, visit the house of Elvis and also the Planes and Cars.
Go to Beale Street, the best time is in the evening, because in the daytime there is nothing to do.
Go to the Sun Studio, this is a very nice thing to do.
Visit the Soul Museum. This is one street behind Beale Street.
Visit the big shoppings malls in Memphis.
Graceland is a mix and match of five ways to learn about Elvis with gift shops and eating places. The best way is taking 1) the Mansion Tour. Here you'll see how Elvis lived and his career. Included with the Mansion is a building displaying his jumpsuits, gold records, and movies. Awards are displayed in the racquetball court.
Other stops, include 2) a museum of his cars, 2) a walk through his two jets, 3) his time in Hollywood, and an exhibit of his unique costumes. In addition, stop in the 4) Elvis Lives: exhibit of other movies and events that capitalize on Elvis' fans, i.e., the flying Elvis'; and 5) '68 Special, Elvis' return to the public eye.
It's a given perhaps to think Graceland when in Memphis. Well, it's worth the hype to step inside Elvis' and Priscilla's lovely estate. Great impressions of this grand place have and will last, much more so then the superceleb couple ever did. Exploring inside Graceland is like stepping back and roaming back in time- the 70s to be precise. Antenna TV, velvet sofa, vintage 50s metal furniture and all are featured inside. there is not just the basic living, kitchenm, dining room and bedrooms -but also a music room, trophy room and jungle room (swingin'!).
Try to come during non-peak season, unless you are a big fan. You'll want to come in August for Elvis Week!! Expect longer waits on the summer weekends.
Excuse the darkness of some pics. The best ones are in the travelogue!!!